From: Jim Forsyth, Reuters, SAN ANTONIO
Published July 29, 2011 06:38 AM

Tropical storm Don welcome in drought-stricken Texas

As much of Texas suffers through one of its worst droughts, many rain-starved Texans are doing something they thought they would never do -- looking forward to the arrival of a tropical storm.


"Someone's going to get it. We hope that it's us," is how Danielle Hale sums up the situation. She is the Emergency Management Director on Corpus Christi, right in the middle of the area where Tropical Storm Don is expected to come ashore on Friday night.

Parts of Texas are 15 inches short their average rainfall for this time of year. Don's expected 5 to 7 inches of rain and the fact that the storm was not seen bringing damaging winds or a destructive surge, makes it a perfect storm for a state sick of water rationing, brown lawns and dying crops, Hale said.

"We're not anticipating any evacuation orders," Hale said. "The worst we expect is maybe some beach access roads may have to be closed heading into Friday evening.

Dennis Feltgen, a forecaster with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said the current track has Don coming ashore at or just south of Corpus Christi on Friday night or early Saturday as a tropical storm or a very minimal hurricane.

"An ideal situation is if it would hit the lower Texas coast and then the system would move northward," he said. "That would give you the more significant rainfall."

Even Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who helped Houston handle the devastation of Hurricane Ike three years ago, isn't worried about Don's approach to the Texas coast.

"We're all keeping our fingers crossed," he said. "It could turn out to be just what we need, a good rain event."

Graphic shows forecast path for Don.  Credit:  NOAA

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